The latest title in the Milestone MotoGP series, MotoGP 18, still stands out for its motorcycle action, but the point is missing for images and presentation.
Version tested: PlayStation 4
The MotoGP series has a rather long history, dating back to the release of MotoGP 07 on Playstation 2. Throughout this time, and in all versions, the Milestone title has always been greeted with mixed reviews, without ever a real statement. on the market. And, contrary to what one might say, it looks like this trend will continue, as the latest MotoGP title, MotoGP 18, positively offers unparalleled racing action, but manages to do essentially nothing to make it stand out from the crowd.
A familiar presentation.
Those unfamiliar with MotoGP games should know that these are designed to be racing simulators. This is not a Burnout style game with explosions or backflips. Far from it, it's a game that aims at the realism of motorcycle racing, with players tasked with climbing through the ranks from the Red Bull Rookies Cup to MotoGP. And on that front, everything seems to be going well: there's a great roster of riders, teams, bikes and tracks, all based on their real-world counterparts. In fact, the developers have gone so far as to use drones and 3D scanning technology to accurately reproduce both the pilots and the tracks, with the aim of making the game as realistic as possible.
Furthermore, for the first time in the history of the series, this MotoGP is built on the Unreal engine. This means a complete overhaul of the game's modeling and physics, which was once again, let's repeat, done in the name of realism. Unfortunately, the end result is still not completely rewarding. While the rider and bike models look sharp, the rest of the game's visuals are markedly opaque. The tracks appear sterile, the models seem wooden and lifeless, and the fans running around in the stands look like Playstation 2 animations. These issues are particularly evident during the pre / post race footage. Also, these are often repeated with only minor changes to the faces and skin tones of the characters. Some of the game's menus and the text within them are also poorly defined; this is odd, considering the bike-and-rider backgrounds are pleasantly sharp.
Full of options.
However, given that MotoGP 18 is a simulator, minor issues such as graphics and presentation could be overlooked. The main theme here is racing, and on that front, Milestone has done a commendable job of reproducing the action and physics of motorcycle racing as accurately as possible. Players who just want to participate in races and start moving up through the ranks can make use of a number of different biker aids. These make racing much less demanding and / or stick to automatic bike setups; nevertheless, those who really want a realistic experience can easily adjust everything. The settings allow you to set details from rake angle to suspension preload for braking aggression, aerodynamics, fork compression and more.
More importantly, this level of detail extends to the gameplay itself. Without activated aids, MotoGP 18 comes as close as possible to the level of multitasking and active management needed to push 200+ horsepower on the track. Players will have to change gears manually, manage the front brakes, rear brakes, clutch, throttle and also take into account their driving position. This is to say nothing about the knowledge of the bikes or the tracks themselves. It can be a little overwhelming, which seems odd, because the action itself, with or without aids, isn't particularly exciting. MotoGP enthusiasts will certainly appreciate the attention to detail, but with such a steep learning curve and with such a flat feel action, it's hard to imagine everyday gamers will feel very satisfied.
Round off the track.
Fortunately, there are a number of extras players can expect. Drivers can compete in the game's extensive career mode, players can also jump into the action right away thanks to fast-paced gameplay options such as GP, Time Trial, Championship, and even public and private multiplayer game modes. These offerings may not be as robust as career mode, however, as they feature fewer options for rider and bike customizations; Beyond that, joining multiplayer lobbies often involves a long wait as the players on the list finish their current races.
All of this is complemented by a bit of charm in the forms of several full-motion videos showing every location on the course, a (fictional) social feed with numerous (unofficial) facts and rankings for in-game races, emails. updates and tips from the game's personal manager and the ability to customize their riders with helmets, gloves, boots and even a special nickname that can be proudly posted on the back of the suit.
A niche product.
It is probably best to think of the latest version of Milestone less in terms of video games and more in terms of a product designed for MotoGP enthusiasts. It's filled to the brim with MotoGP-related details like races, tracks and commentary; in addition, it includes many different options that riders can use to modify their bikes and chase the podium. That said, MotoGP 18 is simply less thrilling than it should, especially due to its overwhelming graphics, spartan presentation, and monotonous gameplay.
- - Packed with MotoGP details
- - Great customization of motorcycles and riders
- - Realistic racing
- - Poor technical details
- - Poorly calibrated multiplayer
- - Repetitive